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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Semantic memory provides us with a means of storing information about words, objects, actions, and other concepts. We have learned a tremendous amount as a result of noninvasive techniques to study the brain and this book focuses on the neuroanatomical localization of semantic memory, as well as semantic memory systems throughout the brain.
Purpose: The intent is to provide a cutting-edge resource on the neuroanatomical explorations of semantic memory in the brain through the study of both normal individuals and those with brain disease.
Audience: A variety of readers will likely find this book of interest, from cognitive neuroscientists to neurologists to neuropsychologists. Students of these disciplines will also find it valuable, especially at the graduate level. The contributing authors are well established scholars in the field.
Features: Several major sections cover lesion studies, electrophysiology, roles of subcortical nuclei, and conceptual models. Chapters begin with an introductory statement and end with a concluding statement. Some chapters are more technical than others (e.g., electrophysiology) and require a basic foundation in the area to fully comprehend the information. There is a balance of clinically related topics (e.g., lesion studies and semantic memory in schizophrenia) and more basic science topics (e.g., ERP studies). The final chapter ties together these ideas into a compelling hybrid neural model of semantic memory. A few of the later chapters contain crisp color figures of functional neuroimaging results. Whereas some chapters are replete with these instructive figures and illustrations, others are remarkably devoid of nonverbal information. The index is excellent for quick referencing.
Assessment: This well written book not only surveys the current literature, but also brings it together into an integrated model of semantic memory. It is conveyed at a reasonable level for researchers and clinicians, and would be a fine course book in a graduate level neuroscience class, with the exception of a few lackluster sections.